NIGERIA, Maria Fischer •
On Friday, August 5, while Pope Francis was praying the Stations of the Cross with thousands of young people in Lisbon, linking the sacrifice of Jesus for all of us to the wounds and frailties of young people today – A Via Crucis for the Frailties of Young People -, a young man in Nigeria was taken to the hospital. He is a priest, ordained just a year ago, who is eager to serve the Church in his country and is well prepared to work for the Schoenstatt Youth. He and a team of doctors fought for his life while 1.5 million youth celebrated the Vigil and the Missionary Mass. When Pope Francis returned from his trip to Portugal and made his 110th visit to the icon of Mary, Salus Populi Romani, one of the symbols of World Youth Day, Stanley Ukasoanya died. He was 31 years old, the youngest priest in the community of the Schoenstatt Fathers. —
“It is with a broken heart and a deep sense of sorrow that the Schoenstatt Fathers regret to announce the death of our beloved confrere, Fr. Stanley Ukasoanya, who passed away today, August 8, 2023, after a brief illness. Fr. Stanley was just 31 years old and was ordained a priest of our Institute on the 25th of June last year,” writes Fr. Okereke Kingsley Kizito, Delegate Superior of the Schoenstatt Fathers in Nigeria.
“Just after one year of priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of Ibadan, the good Lord has pleased to call Fr. Stanley back to Himself in the eternal Sion. May He, whom Fr. Stanley served with total dedication for this one year, be merciful to him and welcome him into His Kingdom. May the Mother Thrice Admirable of Schoenstatt accompany him on this journey.
We are still in shock and our hearts are broken by this sad event.
Please continue to pray for the eternal repose of Fr. Stanley Ukasoanya, continue to pray for his family, continue to pray for the Schoenstatt Fathers and all who are directly affected by Fr. Stanley Ukasoanya’s homecoming.
Studies in Chile
Along with his course brothers, Cyprian Avong, John Obute and Emmanuel Okeke, Fr. Stanley belonged to the Manifestatio Misericordis Patris (Manifestation of the Merciful Father) course.
Together with Fr. Cyprian, he was sent to Chile to do his theological studies with the seminarians from America. The Schoenstatt Fathers are now sending two of them to the Colegio Mayor in Chile. Two Nigerians are currently studying Spanish in Argentina, and at the beginning of the year they will go to Chile to study.
The experience of the Schoenstatt Fathers working in the Schoenstatt Movement there has prepared Fr. Stanley for a fruitful work with the Schoenstatt Youth in Nigeria.
Do not be afraid
God had other plans. We do not know if Fr. Stanley knew about WYD and Via Crucis. But we can hope and believe that his death was and is a Via Crucis for the frailties of the youth, for those who were in Lisbon and for those in Nigeria and beyond.
Let us pray for Fr. Stanley and for all who mourn his death. Stanley for all the young people who participated in World Youth Day and for all those whom they will inspire.
The words of Pope Francis echo in these moments: Do not be afraid.
Collaboration: Fr. Pablo Pol